Gullkársljóð og Hrafnagaldur

  • Haukur Þorgeirsson
Keywords: Poetic formulate, medieval fairy tales


The article argues for a continuous tradition of fornyrðislag poetry in Iceland stretching from the Eddic poems and beyond the Reformation. The youngest poems in the fornaldarsögur and the oldest of the sagnakvæði should be regarded as of similar age. Two poems are selected for a detailed study. On the basis of linguistic and metrical criteria, Gullkársljóð is dated to ca. 1350. This dating is further supported by the presence of formulaic elements which the poem shares with several old poems. Linguistic and metrical arguments place Hrafnagaldur after the Reformation. The mystical tone of the poem, its interest in magic and its serious perspective on the Norse gods fit well with 17th-century Iceland when occult and antiquarian interests led to certain neo-pagan tendencies.